A key component in the quantitative assessment of the risk posed to spacecraft by the micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) environment is frequently referred to as a ballistic limit equation (BLE). A frequently used BLE for dual-wall configurations (which are commonly used on spacecraft to protect them against the MMOD environment) is the New Non-Optimum, or "NNO", BLE. In design applications where a BLE is needed for a new structural system that has not yet been tested, but resembles to a fair degree a dual-wall system, it is common practice to equivalence the materials, thicknesses, etc., of the new system to the materials, thicknesses, etc., of a dual-wall system. In this manner, the NNO BLE can be used to estimate the failure / non-failure response characteristics for the new system. One such structural wall system for which a BLE does not yet exist is a dual-wall system that is stuffed with a lightweight polymer-based foam material. In this paper we demonstrate that the NNO BLE, in its original form, frequently over- or under-predicts the response of such a system. However, when the NNO BLE is modified to more properly include the effects of the presence of the foam as well as the actual material properties of the walls and the impacting projectile, there is a marked improvement in its predictive abilities.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


NASA Engineering and Safety Center, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

Ballistic Limit Equation; Dual-Wall System; Foam-Filled; Hypervelocity Impact; Space Debris

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2023